Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Condition of Our Hearts

“The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. (Isaiah 29:13 NIV)

Years ago, I learned there were students coming to our large group meeting who afterward would stand in the parking lot planning their next drinking party.  These are the kind of people I think God is speaking about.  

As humans, we seem prone to seek cover for our sin through religious rituals.  I have known faithful churchgoers who have had affairs, embezzled money, cheated employees, abused their wives and children, and have been addicted to pornography.  Even the infamous BTK serial killer in Wichita, Kansas was a faithful member of a local church.  

All who are involved in a local church or campus ministry struggle with sin.  The Lord is not speaking of those who struggle; He is speaking of those whose hearts are not committed to Him yet who seek “spiritual cover” through church or ministry involvement.  There is a major difference between those who are truly seeking the Lord and fail sometimes and those who are bent on living life for themselves and seek to appease God or their consciences through religious rituals.  

God’s favor cannot be earned or purchased.  It is by His grace that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9).  And we receive His grace by putting our trust in Him and surrendering our hearts to His will.  If our hearts are far from Him, then going to church or a campus ministry, putting money in the offering basket, or being in a Bible study will not gain us anything.  

Today, recognize being involved in ministry activities serves no purpose if your heart is not committed to the Lord.  It will not earn His favor.  He desires only a heart devoted to Him.  

© Jim Musser 2013

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